ICM have a new poll out in tomorrow’s Guardian showing Labour in the lead. Topline figures, with changes from ICM’s last poll a month ago, are CON 35%(-2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 18%(nc). The poll was conducted directly after Ed Miliband’s conference speech, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This is the lowest any poll from any company has put the Conservatives since the general election, though that’s probably connected to the high Liberal Democrat score. There is a significant spread in Lib Dem support across different pollsters – YouGov tend to show them between 12-14%, the most recent polls from Populus, MORI and ComRes all had the Lib Dems at 14-15%, ICM have them steady up at 18%.

In other findings, concerns about the spending cuts continue to creep upwards 43% said they thought cuts had gone too far as opposed to 37% who think the balance is about right, slightly less supportive since than in July. However, the coalition continues to be trusted more on the economy than Labour – 50% think they are best to ensure a prosperous future compared to 31% for Labour.

On Ed Miliband, 28% think he will move the Labour party to the left, 41% think he will keep it in the centre and 8% think he will move it rightwards.

A final intriguing point was ICM’s question on what people would like to happen at the next election. The overall picture was that 40% wanted a Conservative led government (19% on their own, 21% with the Lib Dems), 39% a Labour led government (26% on their own, 13% with the Lib Dems). The interesting bit was that amongst Conservative voters only 50% wanted the Conservatives on their own, 41% prefered a Con-LD coalition. In contrast, when YouGov have asked the same question they have found 72% of Conservatives would prefer the party to rule alone, 25% prefer the Con-LD coalition.

317 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – 35/37/18”

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  1. 49% think he will keep it in the centre or move it rightwards versus 28% thinking he will move it to the left (I am assuming these latter sorts are the types of Tories who tend to post on here every day).

    These are much better figures than those of the last couple of days :-)

    Plus – of course- a TWO per cent lead !

  2. rob

    you got here first, i feel like scott did at the S pole

  3. Or are you just about to go outside “for a walk”…..

  4. Same old dilemma,which poll do you believe,or do you split the difference?

    Not good for the Conservatives,on the forming a Government on their own though.

    Equally as bad for Labour,is that tories are gaining a good reputation on the economy,even if that means not liked but trusted,i think they will take that all day long.

    For me the Libs are too high in this poll,i do believe about 60% of libs are centre-left & have gone or will prefer labour,& 40% or so are centre-right & will prefer alligning with the tories.

    For me i just don’t see coalition Government as a good thing in the UK,we are too tribal.

  5. 43% think the cuts have gone too far? They ain’t seen nothing yet!

  6. anthony

    who’s got it right

    ICM most blues want to marry the dems


    YouGov most blues want a divorce

    one of them must be wrong or maybe both,. is the difference in the sample?

  7. rob

    yes, i may be some time

  8. And if you feed those figures into the swingometer, Labour end up with a 10 seat majority. That seems a fair result. So much for there being such an inbuilt bias towards Labour in the current system.vvvv

  9. Richard – remember the question is what people would like after the next election, so YouGov isn’t showing the Conservative supporters want to ditch the coalition now (they overwhelmingly support it). The difference is odd, which is why I mentioned it, thought it could be something as simple as different question wording.

  10. @ Valerie

    The Swing thing ignores the bias. On these numbers, Labour would probably have a majority of around 21 seats. 8-)

  11. @Richard

    “(conservatives) are gaining a good reputation on the economy”

    I think economy responses need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt for the immediate term: we need to wait (1) for the CSR announcemnet; (2) for the post CSR reality-in-peoples-lives/ perceptions on ‘what it means for myself, my family and my friends.

    If there is a decent net approval on the economy autumn 2011 then I think that would be something to comment upon.

    @Rich in Norway

    damn that Amundsen

  12. Anthony Wells

    Thanks for that.

    More on the poll at Conservativehome.

    Best PM.

    Cameron 47% Miliband 20% Clegg 10%

    Thants a huge lead for DC.

  13. anthony

    i was being a bit OTT

    i notice that 34% want the dems to continue in gov but in a junior role. how many wanted the dems to lead the next govt?

    looks like coalition politics is taking root?

  14. All polls before the end of the conference season are a little irrelevant, but I imagine Labour will do much better now they have a leader who will give a consistent message.

    In a way it doesn’t really matter how many people think Ed M will move his party to the left or right, the key thing will be whether in a year’s time he is considered to have been more or less left wing than people thought. In that sense, it is probably good for him to be called Red Ed at the moment, as then when he moves to the right (as he’s already done) it is considered to be big news.

    The cuts number (43% think too far) is astonishing as nothing has happened yet. I think 5th May is going to be very nasty for the Coalition.

  15. Hmm… I don’t give much weight to these kinds of question, but the finding that suggests many conservatives want to keep a coalition is interesting. Could we see a conservative identity voters tactically voting for Lib Dems?

  16. These are intriguing results – not the headlines numbers, but the other stuff. really odd that so many blues want to see them in government with another party. Does this indicate soft support?

    Overall though, none of these polls will excite me for a considerable time yet. I’m getting increasingly twitchy that we might be about to live through a horrible repetition of economic history.

    Ireland is a particular case, but a sobering illustration of what has happened. The global switch from stimulus to austerity after governments got spooked by the markets is having a big effect on growth in the west, and there are now also signs that developing countries are ready to take action to devalue their currencies after quantitative easing in the west has effectively sent billions of dollars pouring into their economies creating surgng currency values.
    Competitive devaluations and government austerity was part of the mix that kicked in just after we thought we had got through the worst of the 1929 crash.

    We need to make savings for sure, but the main recovery agent for government finances will always be growth. How the economic background shapes up will be critical to how people judge the coalitions competance, and I don’t think there is any certainty on the outcome yet.

  17. @Anthony. I suppose that the differences could be down to either the You Gov tracking sample not being representative enough, or alternatively that the likes of ICM have failed to make enough of an ongoing methodology adjustment (if any) after overestimating Lib Dem support in pre-election opinion polls.

    A suggestion. To try and sort this out, could YouGov (occasionally) ask a question about past voting, even if you choose not to weight by it in your published results? Then comparisons with other polling companies results would become clearer. For example, if in their unweighted samples both ICM and YouGov showed similar patterns of past voting recall in similar demographic groups, then would it suggest that different policies on weighting rather than the raw samples lie behind the differences?

  18. The trends are the same for both YouGov and ICM. Labour and Tories neck and neck, perhaps with Labour starting to edge ahead, Tories down a bit but remaining relatively high and the LDs staying in the doldrums.
    I simply can’t believe that only 50% of Tories want the Conservatives to rule on their own.
    Even 72% looks kind of low to me. :)

  19. Perhaps the ICM question was like this;
    “Would you prefer the Conservatives to rule on their own where they don’t have anyone to blame for anything that goes wrong or is it better to be in coalition with another party to shoulder the blame?”

  20. Adrian B

    The main mistake that Labour is making in my opinion is the one that they made in the 1980’s.

    Labour could oppose the cuts on ideological grounds,like the 1980’s however they are going further & saying they won’t work,that is a major gamble in my opinion.

    Thatcher didn’t win elections because she was loved,she won because she had been proved right on the economy.

    Before people jump down my throat,i say proved right from an economic standpoint,not whether the Conservervaties did the right thing through public spending.On economic growth & debt,the Conservatives won that argument,Blair saw that with the creation of New labour.

  21. Well I am pleased with this result if only because it puts that awful Julian Glover in his place.God knows why he writes for the Guardian the Telegraph seems more like his natural home.

  22. “Thatcher didn’t win elections because she was loved,she won because she had been proved right on the economy.”

    Neither of those things actually….she won thanks to a certain concept known as ‘vote splitting’….

  23. @Richard

    “Best PM. Cameron 47% Miliband 20% Clegg 10% Thats a huge lead for DC.”

    Agreed that is a significant lead. I know this will annoy Eoin C but I put that down squarely to what he calls ‘personality politics’ and what I call ‘likeability’.

    @Adrian B

    “The cuts number (43% think too far) is astonishing as nothing has happened yet”

    Yes that is a huge number given it is all theoretical (to us geeks) and figures not a squat yet to the vast majority of non-political voters out there

    i.e. until it impacts upon them, their families, and their friends in some way- benefit and tax credit cuts; loss of job; public contracts cut from ones private sector firm.


    “really odd that so many blues want to see them in government with another party. Does this indicate soft support?”

    My personal opinion is that firm Tory supporters are expecting awful public spending cuts/ benefit cuts that are hard to equate with ‘fairness’/ family tax credit cuts that significantly impact on middle Britain household disposable income.

    And they want someone else to share the blame.

  24. Any chance of the UNS projection figures being updated. They are a week out of date.

  25. All is not well when ICM and YG disagree. They have been at odds over the LD share of the vote for some time… ICM ask a past vote question, I wonder when the tables are up, what that will tell us? Are they still predicting how the Dont know’s are voting? If so, how have they changed that based upon 2010 results?

    To be 6% lower that YG for blues
    To be 6% higher than YG for yellows

    Is quite a disagreement.

    My only hunch (and it is just that) is that ICM slightly higher recording for others see a couple of the UKIP/Cons go that way… and the fieldwork dates for this poll mostly likely follow a yellow and red conf. so it is going to record lower scores for blue one one think. But neither of these two explanations would sufficiently account for that quite large gap….

  26. Thatcher didn’t win in 1979 because of vote splitting. It was the time for a change mantra which one constantly heard.

  27. All the political news that impacts directly on peoples’ lives seems to have been drowned out over the last couple of weeks with the focus on the party conferences. It means that there’s been next to nothing on the detail of public spending and taxation. It’s giving the coalition parties a breather IMO. Next month’s polls could be very different when the focus shifts back.

  28. Maybe so many blues are happy to be in coalition with the LIb Dems because the blues are still not trusted to not be the nasty party. They see the yellows as tempering this side. If as IMO it will happen the Lib Dems turn out to be nothing more than a fig leaf to give an air of compassion to a brutal economic policy these people are going to be given one big quandary.

  29. I never said she did.

    But from the Profumo scandal until the 1980 Conference, Labour were clearly the dominant party in British politics; the 1970 and 1979 elections weren’t much more than blips in my opinion (well the second one probably was more than a blip….but if Labour hadn’t decided to wage an all-out civil war, it wouldn’t have been).

  30. @Barnaby

    “Thatcher didn’t win in 1979 because of vote splitting. It was the time for a change mantra which one constantly heard.”

    You are (purposefully?) misconstruing @Bobby here. Your comment refers to 1979. On that ‘change election’ notion I agree with you although it is useful to point out that under the proposed Cameron-Clegg rules Thatcher could not have forced the ’79 election !

    In 1983 and 1987 the Tories only won a majority due to the SDP/Lib – Labour centre left/ left split. Precisley what @Bobby was saying.

    Without a split CL-L vote it is arguable that in 1983 there would have been an ‘unworkable majority’/ ‘hung parliament’ scenario. In 1987 a ‘hung parliament’ scenario.

    Though for that to happen Foot should have stood down and Dennis H have taken over once the Falklands gave its fillip.

  31. rob

    you have explained why 1/2 of the blues want to dance with the dems

    can you now explain why 1/3 of the reds would also like to take the dems for a twirl

  32. Bobby

    I think you miss my point.

    We will know by late 2011,early 2012 if the cuts have worked,or are starting to work.

    We all know that the tories want a small state & labour large.that is the age old argument between right & left.

    My point is Labour have fallen into the same bear-trap,that left them out of power for 18 yrs.

    Labour could just oppose the cuts,by saying they won’t work they could fall into the same trap as the past.If the cuts work we will know yrs before the next GE Labour would have got the big decision wrong.

    All Labour’s new team are singing from the same hymn sheet,the cuts won’t work.For me it is a unnecessary gamble.

  33. Rob ‘n Bob, yes I agree re the 1980s general elections – but I thought that Bobby meant all of Thatcher’s elections, not just those 2. Certainly nothing wilful about any misunderstanding.
    The LDs do look a bit high here, and perhaps both the others a bit low. That said, ICM don’t have a bad record.

  34. @Amber
    Still good to see Labour with a 2 point lead.

  35. Someone said ‘coalition won’t work, I think we are too tribal.’ Well may be it’s time we weren’t. If other countries can deal with it then we should be able to. Sorry to be bossy on this but it does make me mad that people just can’t embrace any form of different way of doing things. Of course it’s probably just an English thing, the scots and welsh are used to it now. But labour voters are by far the most conservative on this. Do they really think they will ever get real change in Britain by maintaining the status quo. I suspect we will now get av so a lot of this will become irrelevent. And my suspicion all along was that Tory voters liked the lib dem influence. Forget the percentages, it bodes well for the lib dems in the south and on the Celtic fringe. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the lib dems down in vote share in 2015 but maintaining most of their seats – and possibly gaining in the south.

  36. @Richard in Norway

    “can you now explain why 1/3 of the reds would also like to take the dems for a twirl”

    Quite simple really.

    Because they still feel that the Lib Dems are a ‘left wing party’ which is why most if not all of them voted ‘tactically’ for them in May 2010 in their own constituencies that have not seen a Labour MP for decades.

    If you are a Beveridge Liberal then these LP supporters are correct.

    If you an ‘OrangeMan’ then these LP supporters are incorrect.

    That difference- between the two LD parties- will become more obvious (and public in the media) from late October 2010 onwards.

  37. Ashley,

    Who said coalition’s wont work? Yellow/Blue seems to work retty good as did Yellow/Red in Holyrood as did Red/Green in Cardiff. In NI we even mange to get republicans and loyalists working together. On this board you hear very little about ‘coalitions not working’.

  38. @RICHARD -“We all know that the tories want a small state & labour large…that is the age old argument between right & left.”
    Not so simple I’m afraid.. There are plenty of people on the right who would like a large state. In the UK, they are just keeping quiet at the moment. Remember, ID cards was a popular idea in the Tory party for a long time before it became official Labour party policy.
    In the US, the right would like to tell people who they can and can’t get married to. That’s a big state too.
    The right tend to only like to keep the state out of matters which concern finances.
    The left on the other hand, tend to be suspicious of the state getting involved in social matters.

  39. Ann (in Wales)

    “Well I am pleased with this result if only because it puts that awful Julian Glover in his place.God knows why he writes for the Guardian the Telegraph seems more like his natural home.”

    Couldn’t agree more, although I suppose we have to accept that the Guardian is a non-Labour supporting paper these days, siding as it did with the Lib Dems at the last election. The disappointing thing for me is that while it is perfectly entitled to take whatever editorial stance it likes, it’s free press after all, the Guardian used to be one of the last redoubts against the pro-Tory journalistic mono-culture found nearly everywhere else in the print media. Julian Glover, along with Simon Jenkins and Simon Hoggart, are perfectly free to broadcast whatever political views they want but, for goodness sake, they have a choice of a multiplicity of other like minded papers to write for, don’t they? Can’t us non-Conservatives have just one paper, please, that doesn’t forever whistle the familiar and widely touted old tunes?

    Probably too much to ask and I fully expect Quentin Letts to soon become the new parliamentary sketch writer for the Guardian! Melanie Phillips, all is forgiven, and come back soon (AAAAHHHH!)

    By the way, as a still loyal Guardian and Observer reader, I’m starting to detect that Martin Kettle and Andrew Rawnsley are on the turn too. We’ll only have Polly Toynbee, Seamus Milne and the always brilliant Jonathan Freedland left soon!

  40. @ Julian
    Don’t think it is even as simple as that because the left is happy to use the state to promote anti-discrimination and in particular has used it to push the Gay lobby message. This goes back to the fact that politics cannot be viewed as a one-dimensional axis, it is at least two-dimensional

  41. @GRAHAM BC
    Like I said – politics, it’s complicated. :)

  42. At the risk of annoying people on here,it was me who said coalitions do not work in this country,we are too tribal.

    Conservative voters(not the leadership) are never,ever going to agree with the Lib-Dems on Europe for instance.

    As for Wales & Scotland & NI,at the risk of being despised,they are irrelevant on a UK Government basis,they run the health service and such in their part of the UK,not big decisions at a UK wide level.

    The Libs are in this coalition because they want to be,the tories are in coalition because they need to be,nothing more.

  43. Julian Gilbert

    I think you are confusing the particular parties positions & their voters.

    The Conservatives on Europe are way out of whack with their core-vote for instance.

    Like i posted above 52% of all voters want to leave the EU altogether as of the lastest poll,thats a lot of voters.

    Lab/Lib/Con making up some 90% of the voting public all want to stay in the EU,i rest my case.

  44. (YG) 30th Sept 2010; CON 41%, LAB 39%, LD 12%

  45. Richard

    I’m far too nice ever to despise someone just because they have a blinkered view. :-)

    I presume that you don’t see the English NHS, education etc as being big decisions? Well, obviously they wouldn’t be for me, but then I’m not affected by them.

  46. @Richard

    “The Libs are in this coalition because they want to be, the tories are in coalition because they need to be, nothing more.”

    Clegg and his (small band of) allies want to be in this “centre-Right” coalition for as long as they can be; Hughes and Cable (and the majority of the Lib Dem party that survives the post Cameron-Clegg deal trauma)) – whilst they would not do anything to destroy the coalition- would be utterly unperturbed were it to terminate at 09:00am tomorrow morning.

    Cameron desperately feels the ‘need’ for a coalition as a means to spread the blame and detoxify the Thatcher-Brand (something that is still not achieved even now).

    As opposed to the minority rule which most of the sub-UKIP right of the Tory party would have much preferred- and still do- don’t rule out the Tory right forcing the end of this coalition rather than the consensus candidates (the Lib Dem “left”).

    These conflicting motivations, enmities and feelings are why I- amongst a tiny minority on UKPR- do not expect the coalition to continue beyond 2012/ 2013.

  47. Ther’ll be no polls tomoro night.

    We now know that Labour’s boost never really materialised. In that sense, Amber was correct to say a new leader was rpiced in. Expect the Murdoch press to be filled with anti-Labour stories for the next four years. It sells more papers than messrs Laws, Huhne and co.

    In view of this, Labour is not strong enough to go it alone. There is too much resilience in LDs polling scores to suggest they are a sinking ship. This is not something I admit lightly since I have long forsaw their demise.

    LDs are here to stay. Ed M is likely to throw red weight behind AV. I have always suported AV so I am happy about this. The coinciding of that campaign, with Holyrood makes it now extremel likely in my view that we could see a yellow/red coalition in Holyrood. Lib bashing is just about to be put into cold storage.

    That will make life very difficult for Mr Clegg. He thrives on red bashing, nothing seems to make the man happier. a new strategy, of rapproachment is about to begin.

  48. AV vote looks more interesting if people can explain that AV will lead to more coalition governments; a plague on all your houses system of voting (and more democratic in my view) may yet match public annoyance with politicians (and bankers).

  49. @RICHARD
    I don’t think Brits are any more tribal than voters in other countries which have coalitions. It could even be said that the differences between our major parties are fewer than in a lot of other countries.
    The difference is that our system is designed to avoid coalitions. If the system was designed to encourage coalitions, some kind of PR for example, then all the parties would have to get used to working together.
    Be careful. What’s leaving the EU got to do with state intervention?
    I travel a lot around the EU and since we’ve joined I see a lot less state intervention.
    No more uniformed personnel studying your documents at every border. No more carnet forms, visas etc. I’m not saying that’ sa good thing or not, but EU doesn’t necessarily mean more state intervention too. It’s complicated. :)
    re. AV
    I’m coming to the conclusion that I will vote against AV in the referendum. I’ve always been a supporter of PR, so it’s not an easy decision.
    But I’ve now worked out what it is that I don’t like about AV. If someone loses the election but had the most first choice votes, it encourages their supporters to think that the winner wasn’t really the winner. This is what may have happened in the Labour leadership contest. The same also happened in Doncaster when the English Democrats won the mayoral election.
    This undermines democracy.
    I would now also want the Labour party to change the voting system for its leaders.
    BTW, I’m not unhappy with Ed Miliband’s win, so it’s not sour grapes.

  50. @Eoin

    I’m a bit confused by your logical leap there to saying Labour have no hope of going it alone.

    Labour have had a clear steady upward trend since the election, and continue to do so, while the Conservatives have been dropping, and the Lib Dems seem unable to regain their past highs.

    A 38 Lab, 37 Con, 15 Lib vote share would result in a Labour Majority. And no one seriously expects the Conservatives to have a sustained improvement in their polling after the cuts start being enacted.

    Why do you think that Labour are going to see their current trend reversed?

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